I landed in San Francisco a little hazy after my 16-hour flight, ready to explore the city; what with all the tech innovation coming out of Silicon Valley this is a city that has a lot to offer, and being in the digital sphere of e-commerce it’s important to keep on top of trends, stay in touch with innovators, and be aware of all those digital disruptors. Which is what brought me to my hotel of choice for my three-day San Francisco stay: Hotel Zetta, part of the Viceroy Hotel Group.
When booking my trip, I wasn’t sure if I should stay in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Union Square, or perhaps take a little jaunt out to Fisherman’s Wharf. Both equally touristy, I noted that Hotel Zetta was located at the centre of the city’s shopping district, and let’s face it, that swayed me pretty easily. It’s not just about the shopping though; the hotel is perfectly positioned for experiencing San Francisco’s arts, fashion, technology and music scenes – at the iconic convergence of Union Square, SoMa, and Financial Districts. It’s also about a fifteen minute drive from the airport (sans traffic that is). You’ve also got the cable car just one block away, and Muni Metro and BART stations are within two blocks. Then when you get out to explore a little, you’ll hit Chinatown about one mile north, and Japan Town about one-and-a-half miles west – easy!
So I arrived at the boutique hotel to find the lobby area bustling with people; a pretty young crowd – your Millennials shall we say, having evening drinks before heading out into town. The vibe of the hotel is one that captures the city’s start-up technology spirit, and sprinkles it with a touch of luxury – a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality is felt throughout. The Playroom – a sort of networking space between the lobby and Mezzanine has an attitude that is laid-back and spontaneous; it exudes an urban-tech feel, but remains relaxed and inviting – with quirky little touches here and there. Games are used to break the ice; with a pool table set up next to the bar, a shuffle board and video games on hand, this room is very much an enabler to socialising – something I enjoy when travelling solo, because it provides that way in for meeting people. I have often travelled on a shoestring; when backpacking for example, it was all about the hostel environment and coming together with people who were on their own journeys. Ten years on, I take the same approach to travel and how I explore a city – through it’s people, but I like to spend that little bit more on my stay these days. Hello fluffy goose down pillows.
Then there’s the art part. You can see that art is intrinsic to the hotel’s story; sustainability and repurposing are at the heart of the artistic initiative. The space is creative, innovative, and it has a fun, surprising feel. The art on display creates a natural synergy between the play and work zones: it’s simple, it’s effective and it represents the many layers that build up the city of San Francisco and the stories that have created it’s past, present and continue to build it’s future. Take for example the sepia tones of the back lit wall in the lobby – you have to look closely to see that it’s actually a large-scale montage comprised of hundreds of mugshots of Alcatraz prisoners. It’s quirky, it’s clever, and it’s right up my street – the hotel that is, not Alcatraz.
So my first impression was definitely a positive one, starting with a welcome reception from the staff, before heading up to my room (the jet lag now setting in), to be pleasantly surprised by the continuation of the ultramodern theme – merging contemporary design with more natural elements to give you a restful stay in a room that doesn’t miss a trick. Think of a modern urban loft that meets all your home comforts. You’re connected to the latest technology – so you can play your music and movies wirelessly from any tablet or smartphone to the flat screen TV – you set the environment you want it to be. So whether you’re working on your next business pitch, or just catching up on whatever series you’ve been watching, it’s so simple to wire your gadgets up and make this a (somewhat luxurious) home from home destination.
Speaking of home from home, I got a little reminder of England at The Cavalier – the hotel’s London-inspired brasserie, which is a quaint space that celebrates pub classics like fish and chips and meat pies. Although I didn’t fly all the way to San Francisco to sample the British menu, the restaurant was very much inspired by your UK gastro pub concept and the food was delicious. The dark wood, plush leather seating and customary moose heads adorning the walls certainly give the space a bit of a Brontë-inspired vibe, likening the atmosphere to that of a 19th century novel, so as a literary buff I was sold. No Heathcliff in sight though – maybe next time.
So there you have it; I highly recommend a stay at Hotel Zetta if you find yourself in San Francisco – whether it’s work or pleasure that’s on the cards, if you’re looking for somewhere with a bit of personality, then you’ll feel right at home here. Watch this space for more reviews as I head out on my travels and feel free to contact me with any feedback. Ciao!